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The biggest questions around NCAA sports are going unasked

Wouldn’t it be a kick if TV people, even if for just a week, asked good questions of college sports authorities — even if they doubt they’d have good answers? Think of the ratings!

After all, if ESPN, Fox and CBS pay college basketball conferences millions of dollars to televise their games and to enrich the biggest-time coaches, it seems reasonable that all three would have access to anyone worth asking good questions on viewers’ behalves.

For example, some questions for Coach K (aka Mike Krzyzewski), for years presented by TV as immaculate, a man of unflinching integrity:

Did your Blue Devils, Coach K, in their win over San Diego State in Hawaii on Monday, wear Nike black uniforms because you and Duke are on the take?

How much does Nike annually pay you, and specifically in exchange for what?

And how does a three-game, seven-day, school-in-session, 10,000-mile round trip serve the educations of your student-athletes?

Or is that under no conditions will TV folks step on Superman’s cape?

Then we’d seek out University of Southern California president Wanda Austin and men’s head basketball coach Andy Enfield — like Duke, nearly all USC games are televised — to ask a few questions:

Andy Enfield
Andy EnfieldGetty Images

Why have you allowed unethical conduct to again pervade the USC basketball program — and just weeks after it was ostensibly sanitized?

In late January, USC fired assistant coach Tony Bland for his alleged role in that sneaker company bribes and agents scandal, a high school-players delivery scam.

So why, two months later, did USC hire as a new assistant coach the father of two very talented high school players? A mere coincidence? This isn’t a player delivery plot, too?
Do Austin and Enfield believe that this would pass a stink test on Day 1 of USC’s law or ethics classes?

Then there’s this one for NCAA president Dr. Mark Emmert: Why is it that the most antisocial veteran creeps in the NBA have full scholarship NCAA student-athletics in common?

Draymond Green, 28, Michigan State. Kevin Drant, 30, University of Texas. Matt Barnes, 38, UCLA. Rajon Rondo, 32, Kentucky. To name just a few.

When does Dr. Emmert suspect their college-provided social skills will kick in? What does he suppose has delayed their progress? Or could all this NCAA student-athlete stuff be what viewers fully suspect: a conspicuous, colossal and even criminal con?

Every Saturday during Rutgers football telecasts on BTN, an informal list of what RU needs to compete in the Big 10 is provided.

But, as if it made no impact, the fact 10 players are off this year’s team because of arrests in the last year — one for the alleged rape of a minor, another charged with plotting a double-homicide — has not been spoken.

Some truths — the biggest ones — just aren’t told, the questions never asked. If a player were suspended for the first half of a game due to missing practice, we’d hear about that. Arrested for planning two murders? Not a word.

So why not ask some good questions speak some indisputable truths? It isn’t as if the conferences will cease cashing TV’s checks. The rights holders will be the highest bidders, regardless.

Why roll over and play dead to protect those to whom you pay a fortune? Don’t your viewers deserve better? Heck, how does a Roger Goodell get away, unchallenged, with the demonstrably bogus claim that PSLs are “good investments”?

Of course, we can always fall back on the wisdom of ESPN’s college basketball sage, Jay Bilas, who reasoned aloud on ESPN that even if the full-scholarship, eligible-to-play recruits don’t attend classes — even if fraud is committed — the players’ social skills improve just by being in a college atmosphere.

He was, if I heard right, serious.

Officials missed illegal board hurdle on ice

Never-Before-Seen Oddity of the Week: In Last week’s Red Wings-Devils on MSG, Detroit winger Andreas Athanasiou, in his haste to avoid a too-many-men-on-the-ice call, hopped the boards — into the area between the two benches, which already was occupied by ice-side reporter and ex-Devil Bryce Salvador.

Athanasiou didn’t stay long. He was next seen on Detroit’s bench with an impish grin as his illegal skating and entering went undetected.

Salvador reported that the Devils leaned over to tell him to “hold him there, but I was more worried about my toes.”

I’m going to miss seven-year Mets radio play-by-player Josh Lewin. He not only showed up well prepared, he always came with interesting extras.

Thus we learned from Lewin the pay scales of minor league umpires, the high schools shared by players, and other notables and neat tidbits about that game’s stadium.

He was good car-ride company.

Better take gloves to this game

Just once, ESPN shot-callers and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred should take in a game together — the entire thing and seated in the stands, not a luxury box. How about April 7? It’s an ESPN late Sunday night number: Dodgers vs. the Rockies — in Colorado.

Mike Francesa on Wednesday knowingly touted Duke to win in over Gonzaga that night in a mismatch. Gonzaga won. Tapes lost.

Reader Leo Kaner: If a running back who “runs downhill” fumbles, won’t the ball naturally roll down that hill?

Lookalikes: Submitted by Garo Gamusyan — Tijuana mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum and Keith Hernandez.

Keith Hernandez and Juan Manuel Gastelum
Keith Hernandez and Juan Manuel GastelumAnthony J. Causi, AP

If the NFL instructed the media to call off-weeks, oh, Doritos Sour Cream & Onion Weeks, would the media comply? The NFL, with the media’s mindless obedience, has changed the meaning of a bye — advancing in a tournament without playing — to having a week off. “Were you on vacation?” “Yes, I had a bye week.”

When ESPN is not destroying live game telecasts, its studio shows focus on two things: debating college football rankings and all-day updates on how LeBron James is feeling — is he happy, sad, frustrated? — and what he thinks about anything and everything.

Your tax dollars at work: SUNY- Albany’s men’s basketball roster lists three recruits from Australia, two from Canada, one from Serbia, just two from New York. Seems SUNY schools can’t find New York kids who play basketball and sure could use a college scholarship.

A new Nike Christmas ad campaign will be rolled out this week featuring professional players urging kids to “Play with dignity, play with class. Respect the game and your opponents at least as much as you respect yourself.” Fat chance.


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